Enjoy Hanoi flavor through special dishes

Nga Do
Hanoi’s autumn is also the season for ‘com’ or young sticky rice flakes. ‘Com’ can be eaten directly or mixed with other food ingredients to create a variety of tasty dishes, including ‘cha com’ (com paste).

Unlike other kinds of cha like cha ruoi (nereididae sandworm omelette), cha ca (charcoal grilled fish) and cha muc (fried patties with squid eggs) which are mainly composed of seafood ingredients and little fish, cha com is mainly made of com and has the subtle scent of new rice. Other ingredients for the dish include lean pork and pork paste.

Com is divided into two kinds: com in early autumn and com in the middle of autumn. The grain of the first kind is thin and soft, suitable for vegetarian dishes or being eaten with bananas. The second is a bit thicker and a little hard, suitable for cooking pudding and cha com.

Com is sold abundantly on the streets when autumn comes, but the best comes from Vong Village on the northwestern outskirts of Ha Noi. The meat to mix with com should be lean shoulder pork, which contains fat, so the taste will not become too dry or the dish downsized on being fried. The mixture will then be added with salt, seasoning and delicious fish sauce. It will be left to absorb all the spices for less than ten minutes.

To preserve the original scent of com, no onion or garlic is added. After that, the mixture is kneaded into small pieces and steamed from 15 to 20 minutes. Finally, cha com is fried until it becomes light brown on both sides. According to experienced cooks, instead of being placed on the plates, pieces of cha com should be arranged on lotus leaves to absorb the subtle scent of the lotus, the symbolic flower of Ha Noi’s autumn.

The dish is best when the skin is crisp, com inside soft and the fragrance of the grain mixed with lotus. It can be dipped into chilli or fish sauce to be eaten with cooked rice or rice noodle.

As the com season lasts only three months. The dish can be freezed in the refrigerator in large quantities for long-term use so cha com is available all year round. Especially, the sausage, together with bun dau mam tom (fermented shrimp paste with fried tofu and rice vermicelli), has become one of Ha Noi’s most popular street foods.

The dish can be found abundantly in corners and alleys of the capital, but the most renowned stalls can be found in Phat Loc Lane, Ma May or Ngo Gach Street.

Have you tried this dish ever? Visit the capital Hanoi and enjoy the food more unique to us: http://vietnamtypicaltours.com/location/hanoi-tours/

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